MBNA America Challenge Championships - Barn Notes for Friday, November 5

(Friday, November 5, 2004) - The ultra-consistent Push the Pace has been training well for new trainer "Sleepy" Gilbreath and is ready for Saturday's Grade 1, $300,000 MBNA America Challenge Championship at Sam Houston Race Park.

Push The Pace was previously trained by Mike Barber, but Barber could not work the trip to Sam Houston into his schedule. Since Gilbreath is based in Texas throughout the fall and winter, Push the Pace joined the Gilbreath stable.

"He's just a big pro," Gilbreath said on Friday morning. "He's very easy to be around and does everything well."

The trainer was also pleased that the gelding drew an outside position-the nine -in the 10-horse field racing 440 yards.

Push The Pace joined the Gilbreath barn in early September after finishing a close second in the La Plata Stakes at SunRay Park as the 1-2 favorite. It was his second second-place finish to go with four wins in his last six starts. He has proven his consistency through his 29 race career with 15 wins, primarily against top stakes competition in New Mexico.

In his three starts prior to the second-place effort in the La Plata Stakes, Push The Pace won the Grade 1 MBNA America New Mexico Challenge Championship and the Top Deck Handicap, each at the Challenge Championship distance of 440 yards. In the New Mexico Challenge Championship he defeated Special Task Force, one of his rivals on Saturday night.

First post time first 7 p.m. CST for the 10-race program highlighted by five Grade 1 Challenge Championship stakes races. The races will be televised to 50 million households on TVG and the following Fox Sports regional networks- Southwest, South, Net 2 (west coast), New York and Sunshine (tape delayed in Florida). The races will also air on America's Horse, televised on the Outdoor Life Network, on Nov. 21 and Nov. 28 at 6 p.m. EST.

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